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Trygg the Dinosaur

Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Trygg and Alta are two dinosaurs who should never be friends. He's small, fast, and he eats meat. She's big, slow, and she eats plants. To survive, they cannot be seen together. Their story is 76 million-years-old. The science is real. The action is heart-thumping. The forbidden friendship is unforgettable.

Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.25 out of 10


Plot: “Trygg The Dinosaur” is a sweet story of unexpected friendship, peppered with facts about the dinosaur age.

Prose/Style: The author’s prose is fairly simplistic, which is great for the age group the author’s book targets.

Originality: Salvador’s book is very unique and it's perfect for readers on the cusp of adolescence who are still interested in dinosaurs, or who might be experiencing their first challenges in friendships.

Character Development: The characters in Salvador’s middle grade novel are unique, since they are anthropomorphic dinosaurs who defy human societal expectations.

Date Submitted: May 23, 2019

Dr. David J. Varricchio, Professor of Paleontology, Montana State University

“A story with a dramatic finish. A friendly Mesozoic Romeo and Juliet, but with a happy ending. Great illustrations.” 

Dr. Philip J. Currie, Professor Dinosaur Palaeobiology, University of Alberta

“In ‘Trygg the Dinosaur’, the Cretaceous of North America is brought to life in a dramatic way that is nevertheless based on the astounding results of scientific research.”


4.8 OUT OF 5 IndieReader

“Author Paula Louise Salvador and illustrator John Bindon earn top marks for creating an imaginative dinosaur story that will tug the hearts of children, parents, and teachers.Opposites attract in TRYGG THE DINOSAUR, a bittersweet middle grades novel about orphaned dinosaurs — one a tiny carnivore, the other a huge herbivore — who become secret friends.

Author Paula Louise Salvador takes readers to the late Cretaceous Period tens of millions of years ago for this tale about overcoming differences and recognizing commonalities.Trygg is a boy Troödon and Alta is a girl Hypacrasaurus. She’s a duckbill who could smash Trygg with one of her four feet. He’s a two-footed, birdlike dinosaur who looks harmless but is part of a viciously predatory species.

Salvador creates a realistic setting in which Trygg and Alta face dangers, including drought and volcanic eruptions. But she gives her characters human conversation, emotions, and personalities (Alta is a class clown, and one of her practical jokes takes toilet humor too far), which may frustrate readers who prefer realism. 

John Bindon’s detailed, black-and-white illustrations capture these personality traits as well as realistic dinosaur anatomy. Portraits of Trygg show a big head versus a tiny body, a trait that may have made Troödons brainier than big dinosaurs. His drawings support Salvador’s storytelling, such as one in which Trygg looks curious while grasping a marsupial rodent with a baby peeking out of its pouch. Between Salvador’s text and Bindon’s illustration, it isn’t difficult to feel the mother’s “frantic heartbeat” or Trygg’s struggle against his carnivorous nature.

Changing climate and a crippled foot make it difficult for Alta to find waterholes and tasty greens. In contrast, Trygg has no one to teach him how to hunt or expand his tastes beyond snails and frogs. He wants a herd but fears bigger, faster Troödons who “could swallow him whole with one good chomp.” Salvador deftly alternates Trygg’s and Alta’s early childhood tales of loss. This rhythm changes and the heavy emotions lighten when the two meet and become loyal, got-your-back swamp playmates. To emphasize the importance of community, Salvador gives Alta an adoptive family whose nestlings she babysits and Trygg envies. The author uses humor to soften sadness as well as dangers. When Alta becomes outraged that Trygg taste tested a dead Hypacrasaurus, he defends himself by saying, “I don’t think it was anybody you knew!”

Salvador directed the video "Dinosaur Babies: The North American Story". Bindon is well known for illustrating many books about dinosaurs. Together, they’ve created a lovable story available both as an ebook and in print.”

Alicia Rudnicki for IndieReader

Jessica Nordahl - Teacher/Librarian (grades 2 to 5) Toronto

Trygg the Dinosaur was a delightful read-aloud for my children (ages 5 and 6). From the very first chapter, they were hooked! Not only is it a fast-paced, suspenseful adventure that transports us back to the Age of the Dinosaurs, it is a lovely story about friendship, with an interesting cast of characters. The illustrations are appealing and add to the intrigue. This is a wonderful chapter book that would be a great addition to any library. 

Oliver, Age 11

“I’m Oliver and I LOVE THE BOOK!!!!!!! THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”



Trygg the Dinosaur by Paula Louise Salvador is a delightful story about the strength of friendship between two dinosaurs. Trygg is newly hatched, finding himself alone and having to run from a mudslide that wipes out what remains of his nest. As he ventures out on his own, he faces bullies and struggles to teach himself how to hunt. Then he meets Alta who, like him, is a misfit. Alta is the outsider of her herd, without any parents and hampered by a foot injury. When she meets Trygg, she's shocked to discover he's nothing like the other meat-eaters who hunt her kind. The two form an unlikely friendship which is put to the test as they face growing friction between their two species and struggle to survive in a harsh environment.

Paula Louise Salvador delivers a sweet read for children of all ages to enjoy and learn about the world of two little dinosaurs. Trygg and Alta are both great characters, each facing challenges in their lives with both being orphans and viewed as misfits. Both deal with being ostracized which allows them to build an unlikely bond through an understanding of what the other is going through. Along with the dangers they face, they also face various dangers in the environment with quicksand and mudslides. Together Alta and Trygg overcome their fears and discover bravery they didn't know they were capable of.

Salvador breathes such life into this world of dinosaurs by making Alta and Trygg well-rounded characters children will love. Friendship is a key theme as the two form a forbidden friendship and develop a strong bond which drives each to protect the other. The story also features a few stunning illustrations which are in black and white and add a sweet touch as you see what the dinosaurs look like. Salvador's tale of friendship is a true testimony to standing up for others and finding your own bravery. Trygg the Dinosaur explores themes of friendship and being true to oneself in a story full of heart, with an inside look at the dangerous world of dinosaurs.

Reviewed By Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite

Ted Staunton, award-winning author over forty children's books.

"Cool Book! A lot of fun … character driven, fast paced, and action packed, told in a way that kids will relate to."

"Trygg" Wins Bronze IPPY Award

TRYGG THE DINOSAUR has won a Bronze IPPY Award in the Juvenile Fiction category of the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019


Join me at WORD ON THE STREET, Toronto, for a book signing and sales of "TRYGG THE DINOSAUR", our fiction book for 8 to 12 year olds. Come see us at Harbourfront Centre in the Kid Street area, Booth #17 from 10 am to 5 pm. This is Canada’s largest open-air book fair. 

#kidsbook #dinosaurbook #booksigning #writers #festival